Writer J. Michael Straczynski
described the project as a dream come true, as writing Superman was among his intended plans which also included Babylon 5
. The project was alluded two years prior when Straczynski announced his contract with DC Comics
, as it was obvious he was going to be working on one of DC's "Big Three" that consist of Superman
, and Wonder Woman
, but it was unknown to whom he was attached towards. However, before it was announced, he had to keep tight-lipped on the project, while he worked on the Red Circle
characters, as well as his run on The Brave and the Bold
As a journalist, Straczynski placed his past experiences within the environment of the Daily Planet
, in order to make it more real. One major example being Jimmy Olsen
, who will be known as Jim Olsen in the book, being seen as tougher and smarter than his mainstream counterpart as he will be seen getting himself in harm's way to get the shot. Straczynski wanted to retell the beginnings of Clark Kent coming out as Superman, but bring in the thoughts of what-if Clark thought of becoming something else instead of being a superhero. As Straczynski stated; "he could have been rich as an athlete, researcher, any number of things. There's a flashback scene to when Martha Kent finishes his uniform and gives it to him as a gift, hoping he'll go that way. He looks at it and says, in essence, "Shouldn't there be a mask?" She says no, that "when people see how powerful you are, all the things you can do, they're going to be terrified... unless they can see your face, and see there that you mean them no harm. The mask... is that what you're going to have to wear the rest of your life."
Among his ideas; the villain featured will be brand new, and have a connection to Krypton
to explain its destruction. Shane Davis
's approach was to remove all the stereotypes associate with the design of Clark Kent, both in his civilian and superhero identities. As a 21 year old male in the book, Davis had Clark wear layers of clothing, showing that he is trying to blend in; "he doesn't want to stand out" as said by Davis. This of course strayed away from the classic Clark Kent look, wearing the suit, tie, and glasses, since it "didn't make sense" to Davis.
He also re-imagined Metropolis. Historically depicted as an art-deco expanse, Davis designed it to look and feel like a more realistic place.